Monday, August 2

Yesterday's Trip, and the Gestation Period of Fishers

Yesterday we drove up to Burwash Landing to visit the Kluane Museum of Natural History. Twice in one day last week it was recommended to me, so it seemed we ought to travel up to see it.

The museum looks unimpressive on the outside, but inside are stunning displays of almost every sort of creature (stuffed, of course) that is natural to the north, each one set in what is a facsimile of their natural habitat.

Did you know that musk oxen, which were in danger of going extinct due to overhunting in the 1930's, are now back at what are their natural numbers? Or that red foxes are not necessarily red, but can be a mixture of colors from red to black, or even pure black? Or how really big timber wolves can get? Or that wolverines are a strange mix of cuteness and frightening ferociousness?

Those are all things I learned yesterday, but the thing that most impressed me is this: fisher mamas carry their babies (four or five of them, at that!) for 352 days before they are finally born. (Fishers are predators from the weasel family, in case you don't have a clear idea what they are.) I thought forty weeks was bad enough, and that--for those who haven't learned their multiplication facts--is only 280 days. But those pregnant fishers keep right on going for 10 more weeks after the forty week mark. All without complaining, I suppose.

If you ever travel the highway up to Alaska, you will go right by this little museum. Make sure to stop. Don't think that the beautiful views of Kluane Lake is all Burwash Landing has to offer.